Around the Block: Bamboo Jungle

Pandering to the fans

Minecraft’s jungles are dense, dangerous places. You never know when you’re going to be jumped on by a creeper lurking behind a bush, fall down a ravine concealed by the undergrowth, or simply get lost in this endless, verdant paradise.

But there’s a rare variant of jungle that’s worth seeking out because it contains one of the game’s most useful resources for survival builders. Oh, and it’s also our biome of the week. It’s the Bamboo Jungle.

Bamboo jungles became a part of Minecraft in the Village & Pillage update in April 2019, alongside pandas, campfires and composters. You won’t find many trees here, though there are a few – instead you’ll find the ground covered with bamboo, which can be crafted into the exceptionally useful scaffolding block.

But bamboo isn’t all you’ll find in a bamboo jungle. You’ll also find pandas – which have a higher spawn rate here than anywhere else in the game, as well as parrots, and the usual sheep, pigs, chickens and cows, all gazing in awe at the beautiful bamboo landscape. Other handy resources to be found here are podzol, vines, melon, and jungle wood.

Should you set up home here? Weeeell there are pros and cons. Pros: lots of bamboo, easy access to pandas, good sight lines for monsters creeping up on you. Cons: you’ll need to clear out a lot of space before you start building, bamboo does get boring after a while, and who wants to live on podzol?

In the real world, bamboo is quite honestly amazing. It’s a family of oversized grasses which include some of the fastest-growing plants in the world. Some species can grow almost 4cm an hour, which is almost a meter a day. But that’s not all.

Bamboo is also a hugely useful material – for building, as a food source, and even as a raw material. Like wood, bamboo is a natural composite material and extremely strong for its weight – you’ll find it used very commonly in South and East Asian architecture, as well as in Central and South America.

You can also make fabric, weapons, musical instruments, cooking utensils, bicycles, rafts, fishing rods, and all kinds of other things with it. In early China, it was used to make both writing paper and fuel (in the form of charcoal). Oh, and it’s part of the staple diet in parts of India, Indonesia, Nepal, and many other places.

So if you wanted to, you could sit down in a house made of bamboo and heated by bamboo, on a chair made of bamboo, at a desk made of bamboo, wearing clothes made of bamboo, and write a letter on paper made of bamboo, with a pen made of bamboo, before tucking into a lunch of bamboo using chopsticks made of bamboo. 

Not bad for a type of grass.

Duncan Geere
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Duncan Geere
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